Schick Championships tip off Monday

Schick Championships tip off Monday
The Schick Championships (the Secondary Schools National Basketball Championships) tip off on Monday at the Central Energy Trust Arena, Palmerston North. The pools are set and the draw is out, with some intriguing match-ups in both the A* and AA* competitions, that will be any basketball fan’s delight if they get down to the Schick Champs early next week. 

With 268 games featuring 69 teams and over 800 players, the 50 years-old Schick National Championships promises to be another memorable basketball festival.

AA Tournament – Boys 

The AA Boy’s defending champions Rosmini College find themselves in Pool A, titled by many as the ‘Pool of Death’. To retain the Doug Harford Memorial Trophy Rosmini will have to overcome Wellington’s Premier competition champions Rongotai College and Zone 2 qualifiers champions Hamilton Boys High.

If that wasn’t enough, Mt Albert Grammar School (MAGS) are also in the pool. Beset by injuries MAGS finished seventh in the Zone 1 Qualifiers but it shouldn’t be forgotten that they were the regular season champions in the Auckland Premier competition and finished third at the Schick Champs last year.

For the first time the AA draw has preliminary quarter-finals which will feature the second placed team in a pool taking on a third placed team to gain entry into the top eight. The top placed team in each pool progresses directly to the quarter-finals.

Five times champions Westlake Boys High School appear in Pool B along with the runners-up from the qualifiers Zone 1 (St Kentigern College), Zone 2 (St John’s College – crowned Waikato Champions last week) and Zone 4 (Shirley Boys High School). It would also be unwise to discount Rotorua Boys High School who made a good showing recently on their trip north to take on some Auckland heavy hitters.

Rangitoto College, Schick Champions in 2015 and 2016, top Pool C where they will be tested by Auckland Grammar School who they beat 104-91 in their Zone 1 3rd/4th play-off fixture. Palmerston North Boys High School, silver medalists in 2016, and Middleton Grange will also be looking for a top three spot. 

Palmerston North finished third at the Zone 3 qualifiers and Middleton Grange, although seeded fourth, ran Cashmere High School close in the semi-finals of the Thomson Trophy in Christchurch last month. Otago Boys High School, the only South Island AA Boys champions since Nelson College in 2000, are also in Pool C.

Canterbury and Zone 4 champions Cashmere and Zone 3 victors Napier Boys High School carry the top two seeding’s in Pool D.

However Waimea College and St Patrick’s College Kilbirnie, who were finalists in Wellington’s Premier competition, should not be overlooked. Tauranga Boys College and Macleans College, Senior A champions from Auckland round out the pool.

AA Tournament – Girls 

There are some intriguing lineups as we look forward to seeing who will lift the historical C.A. Clarke and Stone Trophy and claim the Schick AA Girls Championship.

The talented trio of Hutt Valley High School, St Andrew’s College and St Peter’s School, Cambridge are all in Pool B. 

Hutt Valley won the Wellington Premier competition and also finished runners-up in Zone 3. St Andrew’s are the Zone 4 and Canterbury champions and St Peter’s have contested the last three finals, winning in 2015 and 2016.

St Peter’s chose something of a different path this year in their preparations as they headed to the Gold Coast for some games in late August.

Otago Girls, third in Zone 4, will be looking to upset one of the big three to gain a shot at a top eight finish.

In Pool A it is Zone 3 winners Sacred Heart Girls College, New Plymouth that are seeded number one.

Christchurch Girls High School, winners in 2013, will be looking to progress, as will Westlake Girls High School who have been one of the better performing sides in Auckland this season. Rangitoto College has had some good results in the last month and should also be competitive.

Mt Albert Grammar School head Pool C and should be full of confidence after claiming double success in winning Zone 1 and the Auckland Premier Grade. However this is a deep pool with all six teams capable of beating each other on their day.

Rangi Ruru College were runners-up in both the Canterbury Whelan Trophy Final and the Zone 4 Final, Rotorua Girls High School finished third in Zone 2 and Queen Margaret College claimed the runner-up spot in the Wellington Premier competition. Those teams will ignore the chances of Massey High School and St Mary’s College, Ponsonby at their peril. 

In Pool D Auckland Girls Grammar School have only lost two games all season (the Zone 1 and Auckland Premier Grand Finals) whilst Hamilton Girls are coming off the double of Zone 2 and Waikato titles.

Also in the pool are a rejuvenated Napier Girls High School that after finishing third in Zone 3 enjoyed some success in recent hit-outs against top Auckland teams. Fraser High School finished fourth in Zone 2 and will also be looking to claim a top three spot in the section.

A Tournament – Girls 

In the Schick A National Championship, Manukura appear to be the team to beat in the girls’ tournament. They were much too strong for all opposition in the Schick A North Island Qualifying Tournament although expect Te Aroha College, Stratford High School and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Kura Kokiri to challenge for semi-final spots.

Kavanagh College and Ellesmere College finished first and second in the Schick A South Island Qualifying Tournament in Westport and they will both be vying for a semi-final berth.

A Tournament – Boys 

Stratford High School, the 2017 Schick A Boys National Champions will be looking to go back to back. Having won the North Island qualifier, they will carry the top seeding in Pool A. Manukura, Te Aroha College and 2016 champions St Kevin’s College look the most likely challengers in that pool.

South Island Champions Hillmorton High School are seeded top of Pool B although Opunake High School, with a couple of wins under their belt against Stratford this season, shape as serious contenders.


Tournament Dates: October 1-4, 2018
City: Palmerston North
Host: Basketball Manawatu
Venue: Central Energy Trusts Arena

Tournament Dates: October 1-6, 2018
City: Palmerston North
Host: Basketball Manawatu
Venue: Central Energy Trusts Arena

Draw available here.

* The ‘A’ tournament is for schools that have a roll of less than 600 pupils for co-ed schools or less than 300 for single-gender schools. The ‘AA’ tournament is for schools with school roles over those figures.

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